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Posts Tagged ‘Authenticity’

And in the telling itself, a living performance,
into and through our own soul
we are transformed …
we become who we are.

−verse 7 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

Your voice is your brand of love. Your brand of love is yours. No one has to have the same purpose and brand as you, and you do not have to have the same purpose and brand as another. If such is so, then it is a happy accident.

No one can judge your purpose and brand. Well, they can proffer some form of narrow opinion, but what does that matter? It is what it is, and it is good and right for you to live your love. It is good and right for you to lead from love.

The world needs us to come alive as individuals.
The world needs our truth,
our authentic confidence,
and our love.

Is your voice flowing in your work? Are you doing work that frees your voice?

Shannon’s interest was stirring something; the shadow was being disturbed by rhythmic streaks of light. The intermittent beams were energy determined to form Shannon’s luminous presence in all she would do.

Twelve years after our first engagement in coaching, and two companies later for her, we connected again for her growth. When we first met, working at the same company, Shannon was experienced and serving in a legal role. She had a deep interest in the personal development work my team and I were doing at the time.

Voice, your unique resonance, is the clearest statement of your purpose and brand of love as a leader.

Generosity, giving fully in and through your work, flows freely because of your voice. Voice consciousness opens your eyes to the interest to energy connection−work that is real to you, and if real to you, generosity flows into the light of who you are.

In such real work, those you lead, influence, and serve benefit from your purpose and brand of love. Voice consciousness shows you real work and how you do what you choose to do. Even if particular pieces of work are assigned to you, you are free to choose how you do it: voice suppressed or voice full and engaged.

Shannon honored her connection of interest to energy. Her voice resonates in her work, work that is real to her. Like you and me, Shannon’s voice sometimes falters. But once generosity is brought out of the shadow, handed over to your voice, and allowed conscious flow, no one and no thing can hold back the power of your love.

Shannon’s love is spoken in her statement of Desire & Intent:
“The core of what you do is brought out more fully. Your real self is having an impact in your conscientious leadership. You know the right thing to do and you confidently approach doing it.”

In Trueness you are free to love us in the balance of your strengths applied. In work you know as real, there is no priority higher than that of your love.

Choosing resonance is itself freeing. The darkest corners of shadow say love makes us weak. The truth of the light is it’s the lack of love that weakens us. As I’ve said for a long time, and will continue for a bit longer, “It’s okay to love your work, and in your work, love.”

A poem for your work: Yes, It Matters

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As I write this, it was 15 years ago and we were preparing to leave the corporate life. We traveled to the region where we now live and purchased a house. I was leaving an organization where I had a good run, with 23 assignments in three states. Many good relationships were built that still nourish my work today.

We moved in December of that year. In January the company brought me back for my final day, and for a surprise going-away party. Being the reason for the party I decided to hang with it until the last person left. I had no idea that would be 1:00 a.m.  After he had too much truth serum, one of the few late attendees seemed upset and decided he needed to tell me something.

His telling was about what an executive had said to him, and how it had obviously disturbed him greatly. I write this as the 2016 presidential campaign season is days from being over. What he had heard was in no way as disgusting as what we have heard in this campaign, but to him it was nonetheless very upsetting. I’ll leave it at that as I’m simply trying to set up my story.

I will call the executive Carl. The division’s Christmas party was being planned, and the name of a recently departed executive came up as someone to put on the invite list. That’s when Carl made his reactive statement. Even though he only said it to the one person, it seems that one person couldn’t help but talk about it to others.

The next morning I traveled back to my new home. I was leaving the company with a signed contract to complete culture work that had been started by my team while employed there, and another contract waiting for approval to begin the leadership coaching part of my practice with nine individuals.

In the following days I could not get that story about Carl off my mind. I respected him enough to confront his reactivity. I called his administrative assistant and set up an appointment. On the day of the call, I found myself pacing in the yard outside my office asking myself how I was going to handle this.

When I got Carl on the phone, I said, I’m going to tell you a story, at any point if I get anything wrong, stop me. I told the story, and he never stopped me. He said that how I told it was how it had unfolded. He then said, “I was just being myself.”

I reminded him of the wonderful things he had led and done in the culture of that organization over the last few years. His presence and work had been part of setting up a needed transformation. I told him I was making this call because I didn’t want to see a simple comment take it all down. I then said to him, “You have a thousand people under your care now, you’ve lost the right to just be yourself.”

Therein lies the mystery of Authenticity. We confuse blatant honesty driven by emotion with real authentic presence. Whatever Carl’s feelings were about the departed executive had nothing to do with the person who had stood before him.

I’ve told this story many times to leader clients whom I felt needed to hear it, but writing it down is causing me to reflect on my own behavior as authentic, or not. It’s rather humbling when that spot is flicked on.

Leadership is about behavior.

It is only about behavior. We influence through behavior. Our behavior can stand in the way of powerful results or our behavior can encourage and empower others toward powerful outcomes.

An organization’s culture does not determine our behavior as a leader, but our behavior as leaders determines our culture. Frankly, I no longer care very much for conversations about culture. I much prefer to keep my energy focus on a body of work that builds confidence.

Realize that it is not how you feel that determines how you act; rather it is how you act that determines how you feel.

−William James (1842-1910)

At the end of the conversation Carl directly asked my advice about what he should do. I told him that he knew the one person that was present that he needed to talk to, and that he must go to him and ask for his forgiveness. Then, ask him who else he should talk to, and then go to each of them and do the same.

In the brightness of the authentic self (what I call Trueness) we clearly see our actions and can observe them factually, before any judgment. There is a narrow space in which such seeing occurs, and we must respond quickly leveling in on what drives us from the deepest place in our being.

Yes, as a leader in the 21st Century, Carl has grown beyond the emotional right to say whatever. However, he is completely free by his Trueness to speak from and with his authentic voice.

Bright Unknowing

Superfluous opinion, you’re not.
Yet trigger pulled, sending brightly
such divisive thinking into the air.

An opinion, only narcissism serves.
Egocentricity, and shallowness lightly,
simply wasting the burst of a flare.

Devastating challenge it was,
when such I realized,
of opinions, I must let go.

Wonderfully freeing it was,
truthful wound cauterized,
of presence, I can now know.

Inauthentic only, an opinion can be,
outwardly lashing,
misrepresentation externally told.

Authenticity, non-dualistic and free,
inwardly flashing,
oneness internally we can hold.

–J. Brunson

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Gifts From Santa Claus

We create ourselves as we go.” ~ Hallmark

‘Tis the season. The season of colder weather and head colds. Of decorating, cooking, and shopping for gifts. Of endless hours of wrapping presents and wrapping up the year. Each year seems to bring on more demands than the previous year and yet we continue to push ourselves through the activities.

And that’s just it. Activities.

As I prepared to finally collect my thoughts for this post, I re-read Jeff’s recent post in this series with a feeling of irony. Jeff asked the question, “What is calling for your attention?” I had to inwardly laugh when I thought of all the things I still needed to do to prepare for the holidays, my family, my home, and myself. All of these activities were calling for my attention to the point it’s been difficult to focus on any of them with any amount of the genuine care they deserved. I was feeling an overwhelming lack of inspiration and just going through the motions of trying to feel the magic of the season.

Then the magic, and the inspiration began to flow.

First, in an exchange of communication, Jeff shared a quote that seemed to wake me and spark my inspiration.

“Outwardly, at this stage of life, going off on new adventures, if those adventures do not build on what has gone before, may be a way of not taking up our destiny, of going to sleep again.” – from The Heart Aroused

Then I read a Facebook post from a long time friend I was blessed to have been stationed with when I was in the U. S. Navy. This story, shared here, was the flame of inspiration I needed. I hope you find inspiration in this story as well.

“I have been sick lately. Sick to the point that I have finally ended up at the VA.

So yesterday I am sitting in the waiting room of my local VA Hospital, someplace no one wants to be. Santa walks into the waiting room in full regalia, polished boots and belt. The beard was very real. Still, I am so lost in my own woes that when Santa offers me a candy cane and asks, “And where were you stationed, young lady?” – being called young lady shook me out of my own head, but my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth in surprise. 
Santa says “I did 3 tours in Vietnam, ’69 to ’72.” 
I finally end up gurgling out Jennifer 5B-1Diego Garcia and Santa laughed and handed me a candy cane.

Santa stopped at every chair, and asked the same question, and offered a candy cane for every reply. A few chairs down the row, a one-legged young man in a wheel chair sat angrily. When Santa asked where the young man had been stationed, he grumbled and groused and tried to push the candy cane away. Santa lifted his trouser leg and showed the young man in the wheelchair his prosthetic leg. Santa said, “You’re gonna have to get stronger than that if you gonna get your ass out that wheelchair, son.” Santa straightened his pant leg, and re-offered the candy cane, asking the same question with the same tone and smile as if that kid had never been rude.

Thanks, Santa, for a miracle of the season.”

This story is a great reminder that too often we get stuck in our own head and think ourselves into a black hole. This is not to diminish what the veteran in the story has been through and must now live with. (Either one of them! Wink!) This is more about the selfless leadership shown by Santa. He is the perfect example of Authentic Leadership and leading with Trueness. From a traditional perspective, Santa Claus always has an eye on those who need him most. Each year he manages to be fully present in the season. And he knows how and when to leverage the strengths of others. (Thanks, Rudolph!)

As Jeff shared in his previous post, “Trueness [is] a selfless method focusing you fully in the moment and on those who presently need you at your best, as you walk your path of genius.”

I’m sure that Santa in the story had to make some unexpected and unplanned mental sidesteps as he was creating who he is today. And I’m sure it wasn’t always an easy road he walked. But he found a way to pull on his strength and experience to help empower others.

This is true leadership. THIS is Santa Claus!

 So in keeping with the season, I share these gifts from Santa:

  • GATHER your GIFTS – Know that your gifts, your strengths, are always there. Enlist the help of your friends, family, reindeer and elves to make sure your gifts are ready to be shared.
  • GIVE your GIFTS – Give your candy canes freely, without any expectations of reciprocation. Your milk and cookies will come to you in time.
  • GROW your GIFTS – Embrace and share the magic! Like magic, you may not see or even know the impact of your gift. Just know someone is a better person because of it.

As I keep telling my two daughters, Santa IS real. He lives in our head and in our heart. And his Gift to us, through us, is the magic that happens when someone receives our authentic leadership in their time of need.

And so I ask, do you believe in Santa Claus? Because I do!

Jennifer 5B-2

Jennifer Rainey "Strengths Expert"

Jennifer Rainey
“Strengths Expert”

All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.

Sign up for her curation:
Through the Door of Possibility

 

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Gather

In the previous post, Jennifer encourages in each of us a playfulness in learning that frees creativity in our encounters with one another. She also wrote to us about our responsibility in Creative Tension; how as individuals we must embrace our encounters for the development of our own uniqueness.

There are three keys to creating a schedule that welcomes the soul: slow down, do more with less, and pay attention to rhythm. –Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

When these words by Palmer found me, I was a few years into the process of the three keys. In the key of slowing down I began to jettison distractions to the work I am truly called to do. An intending connection to slowing down was the key of doing more with less—in business terminology, I suppose this is focus. And that brought me to key three, where I now find my attention consistently, my rhythm.

The rhythm to which I refer is both the three points of my Desire & Intent and the three strengths of my confidence cycle—a model around which I’ve built all my work, and truthfully, my life & living. The 3 strengths making my own cycle of confidence, and strengthening my presence within each encounter, are Gathering, Giving, and Growing.

At the middle point of each rhythmic blend is my own Creative Tension, where I interact in the world and where individuals experience both what I do and who I am.

My desire that you embrace the power of who you are drives the gathering. My intent for you to lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence draws me out in a commitment to growing; mine and yours. This desire and this intent collide in the middle creating tension relieved in the sheer act of giving. And for me, this giving is rooted in my need to simply encourage you.

Authentic presence is always grounded in authenticity. … At its best, leadership is influence through presence.”

–David G. Benner, Presence and Encounter

We frequently use the words expectation and desire interchangeably. They are not the same. Too often our expectation in any particular encounter limits what can truly be gathered in the experience, if we would but open to the opportunity. On the other hand, desire—what we cannot help but gather—frees us in the encounter.

Here again, Jennifer encourages us in the gathering through her own story and encounter: “My inspiration is often in what I read. What I’ve discovered about my reading is that there is often a purpose for what I’m drawn to depending on what is happening in my life at that time, personal and professional. And there is almost always a level of learning involved with the purpose of taking that learning and sharing with others.

Jennifer’s purpose immerses her in her own brand of gathering. It doesn’t matter at what point you engage your rhythm, it only matters that you respond in the encounter and allow your rhythm to engage you.

A Leadership Poem: Rhythmic Participation

Note: For another example of engagement in Creative Tension, and therefore the unique rhythm of Desire & Intent, listen to this Podcast where Ric talks about his journey into purpose.

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What’s love got to do with it?

It was 22 years ago, and it still plays in my mind like it was yesterday. Cliff (her nickname) was at our house for a southern supper. She had family in Alabama and had told me how she missed southern BBQ.

At the time I was a manager of a field accounting team. Cliff was my staff specialist and the team’s technical support.

I was on the brick terrace just outside the kitchen tending to the grill and the main course for the southern delight we were about to share. Being a lovely Ohio evening the kitchen window was cranked open. Through that window I heard Cliff state to Becky how much the team liked working with me.

That’s when Becky said what has stayed with me all these years: “Cliff, Jeff loves each and every one of you.” Becky has always been a tremendous support of both who I am and what it is I really do. She knew then that all I did to lead, support, and develop the individuals in my care was done from a place of love.

In the brightness of your Trueness you are freed to lead and love. From the strength of your real self your work is brought into a powerful reality and presence. In the reality of such true work there is no higher priority than that of your love.

So again, What’s love got to do with it?

Everything!

It’s okay to love your work, and in your work … Love!

“If we devote ourselves to the effort to be real, the Universe in all its forms will find us, the way that wind finds leaves and waves find shore.” −Mark Nepo

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It is not uncommon in working one-on-one with an individual leader to hear a forlorn claim of lost purpose. We only lose sight of purpose by losing consciousness of our purpose; individually and/or collectively.

Call me a fool if you must, but I know purpose has been with you since the beginning. Purpose is never really lost. Yes, one may find self seemingly lost in a fog. But know this, and find encouragement, your purpose is still here.

I was sitting in my office trying to see through the fog into the day ahead of me when Bill tapped on the door frame. He sat down and seriously stated, “We are worried about you.” I asked, Who is we? He replied, “All of us.” He was speaking of my team of managers and the eighty plus who reported to them.

It’s not important why I was in that particular fog; and I’d been in it for about two weeks. What is important is that those I led noticed … and cared. They cared enough to talk of it and send an emissary to inquire.

As my mind whirled in the wind of Bill’s question, the cause of their collective concern hit me. Each day I was not traveling I would stop by each person’s desk and speak, at least recognizing we were here together in the day before us. I had not done this in two weeks.

They were comfortable and confident in checking on me because they knew, and followed, my Trueness!

It is only part and parcel that we at times lose sight in the fog of life and living. As our leader, we aren’t upset with you in times of fog and confusion, not when you’ve proven your authenticity to us in how you have guided us to the present. And we know the fog settles on us all.

We know that your light of purpose is still there.

We walk together in the steadiness of A New Confidence brought about by a collective purpose empowered by individual purpose. This is The Work of Trueness; your consistently conscious commitment to living & leading from your authentic self.

… and yes, sometimes we might need to remind you!

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Networking, in order to be effective, must leverage your Voice. If you are a regular reader of mine then you know I’m not referring to an audible voice. I’m referencing your authentic self−how who you really are shows up in your interactions.

The networks we need today are the ones based in mutual respect. They are built on the common understanding that comes from a genuine meeting of the minds. They are fueled by generosity and kindness. They are reciprocal because of a desire to help the other, not out of obligation. They are connections that allow gifts to be exchanged, not favors tallied up. −Ric Gonzalez

What is Networking in this 21st Century? I like what Tim Sanders says in Love is the Killer App. He calls networking Biz Love, and says your network exists for you to:

  1. Share your knowledge; and what you continue to learn
  2. Share your web of relationships; and experience
  3. Share compassion; your ability to reach out

It seems, over the last three years, that my network has, for the most part, frozen; causing me to question the fruits of networking. The freeze has two sources. There is the outside force of an attention-demanding 21st Century culture, and there’s the inside failure to apply my voice consistently and confidently.

And then I must ask what it would take to thaw it. For the longest time the answer has been stuck in the personal confusion of the slow freeze. But now I know the only thing I can know, and do: I must allow my voice, in more full engagement, to thaw the connections.

So how do we apply the fullness of sharing in our networks? It is by sharing our own brand of love in our own network. And that brand of love is resonate in your voice. (see post, Shadow Strengths – Chapter Four (Voice))Skill 4

The paradox one must face, and hold, with the skill of Networking is the external competing demands colliding with the internal focus needed to stay true.

As you stand firm and hold these two for a while, you may more easily see the warm application and need for your voice.

From this middle stand you hold what you do with how you do it, until your voice presence reminds you of why you do what you do.

And so in my own network and networking I must reengage with both my Voice and my original Why I do what I do.

I’ve got some fresh Networking to do!

BCL Blog 4

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